This paper reports experimental results on the instability of thermocapillary convection in long half-zone liquid bridges of high Prandtl number fluids (Pr=67, 112 and 207 for 5, 10 and 20 cSt silicone oils, respectively). The experiments were carried out in microgravity on the International Space Station, which allowed sufficiently long waiting period for the development of instability. Critical temperature differences were measured for liquid bridges of 30 and 50 mm diameters and up to 62.5 mm length. The resultant critical Marangoni numbers (Mac) were obtained for a wide range of aspect ratio (=height/diameter), AR, up to AR=2.0. Linear stability analyses for Pr=67 were also carried out to obtain numerical data for comparison. The present experimental results for Pr=67 indicate 5.0×103<Mac<2.0×104 for large AR (AR>1.25) and they are in good agreement with the present linear stability analysis result. In contrast, the present results are considerably smaller than the previous data (Pr=74) taken in the Space Shuttle experiments. It is shown that this difference is due to the effect of heating rate of the liquid bridge. The data for oscillation frequency and azimuthal mode number are also presented. The non-dimensional oscillation frequencies as well as Mac for Pr=67 have shown a sudden decrease at around AR=1.25, suggesting the bifurcation of neutral stability curves.

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